Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Want My Own Super-Committee

     I've decided that tomorrow morning I'm going to tell my boss that I am no longer capable of doing my job. I'll suggest that he hire a group of people to do my job and make decisions that I don't want to make. And here's the best part, he still has to pay me my full salary. Of course things don't work that way in the real world. This ridiculous scenario can only exist in the fantasy world that is congressional politics. And so we have the Stupor Committee.
     Now that the Super Committee has failed in their simple task, as could have been predicted by anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of Congress, we are left with a huge question. Why didn't the Republican leadership in Congress see this as the political ploy that it was. The Republicans, God love-em, always come prepared to play tennis when they should be putting on boxing gloves. This Summer's debt ceiling debate was no exception. John Boehner and the rest of the Republicans allowed the Democrats to get away with rejecting their multiple debt-reduction plans without submitting one of their own. Then at the last minute Harry Reid came up with the Super Committee scheme that was designed to give President Obama a campaign device that would allow him to run against a do-nothing Congress. The President and Harry Reid, along with anyone else with half a brain, could see that it was destined to fail.
     The whole idea of a Super-Committee should have been anathema to the Constitutional principles that the Republicans hold dear. The framers of the Constitution created two separate and distinct houses of Congress, that along with the Executive branch created a balance of power. They would roll over in their graves at even the mention of a Super Committee. This committee will no doubt gain power over the years to the point where Congress will have created the instrument of their own irrelevance. Instead of a government where power is shared, decisions will be made by 12 individuals and rubber-stamped by an ineffectual Congress.
     As for the manufactured crisis that created the Super Committee, I can't believe that even some on my side of the aisle fell for it. There never was any chance of the United States defaulting on its obligations, it was a not so clever subterfuge that actually convinced even some smart people. It was the perfect crisis for an administration whose first chief of staff, Rohm Emanuel, telegraphed how they were going to implement policy that was unpopular. Just after President Obama was elected, Rohm Emanuel said, "You never want to waste a crisis because it gives you the opportunity to do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do." Why wouldn't an administration that felt this way manufacture crisis in order to implement their unpopular policies.
     So here we are, set adrift on a sea of red ink with no responsible hand on the tiller. There are responsible people in Congress, like Connie Mack, who has proposed his Mack penny plan. Under this plan we would freeze federal spending at 2011 levels and then cut one penny from every dollar of spending each year. At year six we would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP, which is where it traditionally has bee since the end of WWII until President Obama exploded it to 25 percent. In eight years we would not only balance the budget but we would pay off 7.5 trillion dollars of the national debt. But sadly this common sense plan will never see the light of day because common sense is one thing in short supply in Washington. By the way, I tried out my Super Committee idea on my boss and he is still receiving treatment from laughing himself silly.

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